NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kentucky skipped the tradition of cutting down nets after it won the SEC tournament championship Sunday.
Instead, team managers cut down nets after Kentucky’s 78-63 win over Arkansas and brought it to the locker room — in one piece.
“Those aren’t the nets we’re really looking to cut down,” center Willie Cauley-Stein said. “It’s part of the process for us winning and everything, but we’re looking for something bigger. We’re looking to cut down a couple more nets in the (NCAA) Tournament).
The team claimed the SEC tournament championship trophy and thanked the fans on the podium but rushed to the locker room with ladders still set up around the nets.
The gesture may be especially interesting for Cauley-Stein, a junior on Kentucky’s team who has never cut down nets as a member of the program. Kentucky missed the NCAA Tournament when he was a freshman. Florida won the SEC tournament when he was a sophomore. And last year, when Kentucky went to the Final Four, Cauley-Stein was unable to climb the ladder to during the ceremony due to an ankle injury.
A pre-meditated act, a statement or an act of forgetfulness, who knows?
“I didn’t even know we were supposed to do it,” freshman point guard Tyler Ulis said.
Karl-Anthony Towns wore the net around his neck in the postgame and echoed his fellow big man Cauley-Stein.
“We’re just not done,” Towns said. “We’ve got more to do. We’re not done yet.”